Travel VTF

Cheapest pre-departure COVID-19 PCR and ART tests for travel from Singapore

You can now get a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test in Singapore for as little as S$78, or an ART test valid for travel to some countries from S$18

With Singapore’s borders now reopened to fully vaccinated travellers under the VTF scheme, travel has truly opened up on a large scale for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of the city’s travel-starved residents are busy planning or already taking overseas trips.

In an increasing number of cases, fully vaccinated travellers can thankfully enter several countries without the need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, though unfortunately some destination countries still require it, as do some transit airports.

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With cheaper pre-departure ART tests now accepted for certain routings as well as the more expensive PCR method some countries still insist on, here’s our latest analysis on where you can get a pre-departure test in Singapore, including a list of the cheapest providers across the city.

Cheapest Pre-Departure
PCR Tests

Clinic PCR

S$78

Average: S$107

Express Clinic PCR

S$185

Average: S$254

Clinic PCR (Saliva)

S$90

Average: S$140

Home PCR

S$98

Average: S$159

Express Home PCR

S$214

Average: S$265

Clinic PCR + Serology

S$135

Average: S$138

Cheapest Pre-Departure
ART Tests

Clinic ART

S$18

Average: S$34

Video Call ART

S$9

Average: S$20

Rates for PCR tests now start at S$78, while you can pick up an approved ART test from S$18, or S$9 via video call at home (where you provide your own approved test kit).

For those phobic of the nasal swab process, there are also saliva-based PCR tests available from S$90, valid for travel to selected countries. Jump to the list here for details.

Your pre-departure test must typically be conducted within 24 to 72 hours of your scheduled flight departure time, depending on the test type and your destination country, though do check the exact rules for your routing.

Some countries apply a number of days (rather than hours) principle, while some apply the requirement to your arrival time, not departure, so do be careful.

  Check country requirements at the IATA Timatic database

You’ll be subject to the following pre-departure testing requirements when travelling to some of these popular countries:

Testing before travelling to selected countries
based on fully vaccinated travellers departing from Singapore by air

Country Test type Test timing Exemptions
Brunei PCR 48h before departure
or
72h before departure (Singapore RGL)
Fiji PCR
or
ART
PCR 2 days before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 11 or below
Hong Kong PCR
48h before departure
Israel PCR 72h before departure Isreali citizens and residents
Myanmar PCR 72h before arrival Age 5 or below
New Zealand PCR
or
ART
PCR 48h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 1 or below
Philippines PCR
or
ART
PCR 48h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 3 or below
Qatar PCR 48h before departure
Age 3 or below
&
Vaccinated Qataris and residents
South Korea PCR 2 days before departure Age 5 or below
ART 1 day before departure also accepted from 23 May 2022
USA PCR
or
ART
1 day before departure Age 1 or below

Some other countries like Japan and Taiwan also require pre-departure testing, if you are eligible to enter.

Where can you be tested in Singapore?

There are over 650 approved clinics and hospitals across Singapore where you can get a COVID-19 pre-departure PCR test and over 700 that should provide an acceptable pre-departure ART test certificate.

  List of approved COVID-19 test providers in Singapore

This continually updated list will not only tell you which clinics are approved, but also their contact number, address and opening hours.

It also summarises the applicable age range for testing, important for those travelling with children as not all clinics are able to provide tests for those in younger age groups.

Example clinic information

Within a 10-minute walk of our own place in East Coast, for example, there are seven approved testing facilities, so you shouldn’t have to go far from your home or office to take the test.



 


 

Cheapest clinic pre-departure PCR tests

We contacted over 30 major providers, covering around 300 of the 600+ clinics in Singapore offering pre-departure COVID-19 PCR tests, to check their effective rates as of 19th May 2022.

Note: Government-paid swabs are not allowed to be used for the issuance of pre-departure COVID-19 certificates.

The cheapest in-clinic pre-departure PCR test we found was at seven Swab Station SG clinics costing S$78.

Swab Station SG offers S$78 pre-departure PCR tests in Singapore at seven locations, including this one in Bedok. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests
(Clinic)

Clinic Locations Price (inc. GST)
PCR Only PCR + Serology
(for China)
Swab Station SG 7 S$78.00 S$148.00
Anteh Dispensary 1 S$79.00 n/a
Intemedical 2 S$80.00 S$135.00
Lion Health 1 S$81.00 n/a
ATA Medical 1 S$82.00 S$137.00
Minmed Clinic 14 S$87.00 S$155.00
Kingsway Medical 2 S$88.00 S$158.00
SGST 4 S$88.00 n/a
Affinity Medical 1 S$90.00 S$150.00
Kingston Medical 1 S$90.00 n/a
Parkway Shenton
Shenton Medical
Shenton Wellness
26 S$90.00 n/a
DA Clinic 8 S$95.00 S$155.00
Healthway Medical 34 S$95.00
S$140.00
Swab N Go 1 S$95.00 n/a
The Testing Pro 5 S$96.00 n/a
LifePlus Medical 2 S$96.30 n/a
Raffles Medical
(Collinson x SIA)

SQtrans-small-2
36 S$97.75 S$139.50
USE PROMO CODE > SIARMGPCR SIARMGPKG
    You don’t need an SIA ticket to use these codes
pdtswab.sg
(also Q&M
/ Acumen)
47 S$98.00 n/a
AcuMed Medical 12 S$98.44 S$146.59
Swab Services 1 S$100.00 n/a
Etern Medical 4 S$104.86 S$147.66
Fullerton Health 7 S$107.00 n/a
SATA CommHealth 6 S$107.00 S$157.00
Belief Family Clinic 1 S$108.00 n/a
Fusion Medical 1 S$117.70 S$160.50
True Medical 2 S$120.00 S$165.00
OneCare Clinic 20 S$123.05 S$171.20
HeartlandHealth 11 S$125.00 S$160.00
Pinnacle Family Clinic 8 S$128.40 S$214.00
My Family Clinic 16 S$135.00 S$180.00
Osler Health International 2 S$150.00 S$255.00
ProHealth Medical 9 S$159.00 S$217.85
International Medical Clinic 3 S$176.55 S$315.65
Central 24-HR Clinic 9 S$200.00 S$258.85

For families or groups all needing a pre-departure PCR at the same time, Pdtswab also offers a S$400 in-clinic PCR test bundle for five travellers, which is S$80 per pax.

Clinics generally offer a 24-hour turnaround time for test results, though you may see some quote up to 48 hours. We’ve never waited more than 24 hours for a clinic PCR test result in Singapore.

Travel to China

If you’re taking a pre-departure test for travel to mainland China you will require three pre-departure tests, a PCR test (left column above), followed by a second PCR test and serology test, as priced in the right hand column in the table above, followed by a third PCR test.

This generates a ‘Blue Health Code’.

You’ll then have to take an ART test two to six hours before departure at Changi Airport’s Testing Facility, located at Terminal 3 Level 1, Coach Stand. Only with the negative ART test results and Blue Health Codes will you be able to proceed with check-in procedures. The cost is S$38 per person.

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Here’s how it works:

  • Passengers travelling from Singapore to China shall perform a PCR test on the seventh day before departure, and another PCR and serology test on the second day before departure, based on the date of sampling and calculated by calendar day. Passengers will then perform a PCR test within 24 hours of departure.
  • For example, if the flight departs at 10am on 8 June, the first PCR test shall be performed any time on 1 June, the PCR and serology test shall be performed ant time on 6 June and the final PCR test after 10am on 7th June.

Source: China Embassy in Singapore

That currently means a minimum total testing cost of S$331.00 under the highlighted cheapest options in green in the above table, as of 19th May 2022, including the S$38 ART test.

Given the strict 24-hour timing requirement of the third PCR test, you may also need to fork out extra for a rapid test.

Cheapest home pre-departure PCR tests

If you’re pressed for time, you can enjoy the ultimate convenience with a home PCR test.

There was previously only a single option (Homage), charging a steep rate for home testing, but now at least ten providers across the city will come to you and collect the swab sample for analysis, allowing you to get on with your day almost interruption-free, especially useful if you’re working from home.

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All the providers we checked will swab up to four people at the same address if required, and the per-person cost usually starts to drop the more tests you require, for example if you’re travelling as a couple or a family.

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests
(Home)

Provider: Cost (per pax) for:
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax
pdtswab.sg S$98 S$98 S$98 S$98
DA Clinic S$128 S$109 S$103 S$100
BCH-ART S$138 S$138 S$138 S$138
Healthway Medical S$138 S$123 S$118 S$116
Raffles Health S$158 S$138 S$131 S$128
Swab Station SG S$168 S$168 S$168 S$168
Homage S$180 S$140 S$127 S$120
Jaga-Me S$209 S$155 S$137 S$128
Speedoc S$212 S$192 S$185 S$181

The cheapest options (on a per pax basis) are highlighted in green. Note that some providers apply a surcharge for home testing during evenings, weekends or on public holidays.

Pdtswab also offers a S$450 home-based PCR test bundle for five travellers, which is S$90 per pax, for families or groups all needing a pre-departure test at the same time (single location).

Cheapest express pre-departure PCR tests

If you are travelling at very short notice (e.g. the same day) to a country requiring a pre-departure PCR test, some providers are able to offer quick turnarounds with results available in as little as 4-6 hours.

Be warned – it’s not cheap – but if you’re in this situation you are probably flying out for urgent reasons and won’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

Gainhealth offers the cheapest express turnaround pre-departure PCR test in Singapore at S$208.65, but bear in mind this is a saliva-based test (see below), and therefore won’t be accepted by most countries.

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests
(Clinic)
Express turnaround

Clinic Locations Price (inc. GST)
Raffles Medical
(via mobile app)
36 S$185.00
(within 6 hours)
pdtswab.sg 47 S$214.00
(6-12 hours)
The Testing Pro 5 S$228.00
(5-7 hours)
Parkway Shenton
Shenton Medical
Shenton Wellness
26 S$238.00
(<6 hours)
Swab N Go 1 S$240.00
(6-8 hours)
Affinity Medical 1 S$250.00
(6-8 hours)
HealthWay Medical 2 S$250.00
(6 hours)
MyDoctor 3 S$250.00
(4-8 hours)
Swab Services 1 S$250.00
(6 hours)
Minmed Clinic 14 S$265.00
(6 hours)
Fullerton Health 8 S$278.20
(6 hours)
Belief Family Clinic 1 S$288.00
(6-8 hours)
Kingsway Medical 2 S$288.00
(6-8 hours)
Swab Station SG 7 S$288.00
(8 hours)
Fusion Medical 1 S$299.60
(6-8 hours)
Osler Health International 2 S$320.00
(8 hours)
Intemedical 2 S$321.00
(6-8 hours)
International Medical Clinic 3 S$321.00
(4-6 hours)
LifePlus Medical 2 S$331.70
(10-12 hours)

There are also some home testing express turnaround PCR test options, as outlined below (cheapest options per pax highlighted in green).

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests
(Home)
Express turnaround

Provider Cost (per pax) for:
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax
pdtswab.sg
(6-12 hours)
S$214 S$214 S$214 S$214
BCH-ART
(4-8 hours)
S$238 S$238 S$238 S$238
Raffles Health
(6-12 hours)
S$238 S$238 S$238 S$238
Jaga-Me
(3-6 hours)

S$316 S$273 S$259 S$251
Speedoc
(8-12 hours)
S$319 S$299 S$292 S$288

PCR Saliva tests

If you particularly dislike the regular nasopharyngeal swab (taken through your nose to the back of your throat), which let’s face it isn’t the most pleasant experience, you’ll be pleased to know that Singapore has now approved saliva PCR testing.

In this case the test is far less invasive, since you simply gargle and spit into a tube.

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If this is your preference, you’ll need to make sure your destination country accepts saliva-based swabs for pre-departure tests. At the time of writing, the following countries accept saliva pre-departure tests:

  • Australia*
  • Canada*
  • Fiji*
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • USA*

* ART PDT testing allowed, though without an approved saliva-based ART option in Singapore, that may not be of interest to those reading this section!

Prices start at S$90 including GST. Turnaround time is 24 hours, though some clinics offer a faster turnaround for a higher cost, in addition to some home-based testing options.

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests
(Saliva)

Clinic Locations Price (inc. GST)
Saliva PCR
Parkway Shenton
Shenton Medical
Shenton Wellness
3 S$90.00
Chang Clinic 1 S$105.00
Paddington Medical 1 S$120.00
WhiteCoat 1 S$138.00
SwabMe 2 S$139.10
Dedicare Medical 1 S$140.00
Healthsprings 3 S$140.00
Parkway East Hospital 1 S$150.00
Gainhealth Clinic
(at home)
1 S$155.15
MyDoc
1 S$155.15
Osler Health International 2 S$168.00
International Medical Clinic 3 S$176.55

Travellers taking the saliva-based pre-departure test are advised to follow these instructions one hour before sample collection:

  • Do not eat or drink (sipping water is allowed)
  • Do not brush your teeth or use mouthwash
  • Do not smoke or chew gum

Saliva antigen rapid tests (ART) are not yet approved for use in Singapore, though hopefully that will change soon and these will of course be cheaper than the PCR version, for countries that accept both saliva-based and ART pre-departure test results (like Australia and the USA).

Cheapest pre-departure ART tests

If you’re travelling to a country that allows you to complete a pre-departure ART test, like the USA, the good news is that this is a lot cheaper than the PCR version.

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Results are available within 30 minutes, so there are also no concerns when making short-term travel plans.

Note that self-administered ART tests are not valid for travel purposes. You must do these at an accredited clinic and obtain a certificate to use them as evidence of your COVID-19 status for entering a country. Similarly, the S$15 ART tests at QTCs/CTCs cannot be used for travel.

Lion Health provides the cheapest option at S$18 including GST, followed by Northeast Medical clinics at S$21.40 including GST (no consultation fee for negative result).

We checked with them and they will also provide a results certificate with your personal details suitable for travel, however it cannot be notarised (though this isn’t really necessary for ART test results when travelling to most countries).

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure ART tests

Clinic Locations Price (inc. GST)
Lion Health 1 S$18.00
Northeast Medical 8 S$21.40
Affinity Medical 1 S$25.00
Belief Family Clinic 1 S$25.00
Kingston Medical 4 S$25.00
The Testing Pro 5 S$25.00
LifePlus Medical 2 S$26.75
Raffles Medical
(via mobile app)
36 S$27.00
SATA CommHealth 6 S$28.00
SGST 1 S$28.00
AcuMed Medical 12 S$29.96
Healthway Medical 34 S$30.00
HeartlandHealth 11 S$30.00
Swab N Go 1 S$30.00
DA Clinic 8 S$32.10
Parkway Shenton
Shenton Medical
Shenton Wellness
26 S$33.00
Etern Medical 4 S$35.00
Minmed Clinic 14 S$35.00
pdtswab.sg 13 S$35.00
True Medical 2 S$35.00
Fullerton Health 8 S$37.45
Intemedical 1 S$37.45
OneCare Clinic 20 S$37.45
Kingsway Medical 2 S$38.00
My Family Clinic 16 S$38.00
Swab Station SG 7 S$38.00
Pinnacle Family Clinic 8 S$48.15
Osler Health International 2 S$50.00
International Medical Clinic 3 S$53.50
ProHealth Medical 9 S$53.50
Central 24-HR Clinic 9 S$60.00

You certainly shouldn’t be spending more than S$40 for an ART test in Singapore, and there are many clinics offering the service at S$30 or less, including all Raffles Medical locations.

Do note that many clinics in Singapore offering ART tests are more geared up for producing certificates for pre-event testing, rather than for international travel, but provided they can produce a results certificate you shouldn’t have any issues.

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Many clinics will also tell you that an ART is not sufficient f